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Unclaimed Property Auction Generates More than $500,000 for Public Education

8/26/2003

CONTACT: Tami Torres
(850) 413-2842

TALLAHASSEE —Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher announced today that Florida's public schools will soon benefit from nearly $518,000 generated at a recent unclaimed property auction held by the Department of Financial Services. Proceeds from the auction are deposited into the state School Trust Fund and can be accessed for pilot programs and special needs.

"To date, Florida's public schools have been able to tap into trust fund dollars to implement reading initiatives, buy needed classroom supplies and offer professional development opportunities to teachers," said Gallagher.

More than 8,100 items left behind in safe deposit boxes were auctioned off to 222 registered bidders on August 16 in Tampa. The auction, conducted by Fisher Auction Company of Pompano Beach, generated nearly 50 percent more cash than the appraised value of the items sold.

Items auctioned come from unclaimed safe deposit boxes in banks and credit unions. After three years of no activity, the contents of safe deposit boxes are then turned over to department's Bureau of Unclaimed Property. When efforts to locate the owners fail, the department holds auctions to convert the items into cash, which is then held indefinitely for the owners or heirs to claim.

The state has $896 million in unclaimed property waiting to be returned to its rightful owners. No fees are ever charged for this state service. To find out if you have unclaimed property, visit www.fltreasurehunt.org or call 1-88-VALUABLE.